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Making Room for Women Everywhere: A Recap of the 2024 Women in Leadership Conference

by Jocelyn Gutierrez ’24

Adrienne Miller '24 (left) and Tandra C. Perkins (right)

Last week, Rice Business students hosted the 24th annual Women in Leadership Conference (WILC) at McNair Hall. This year’s theme was “Challenge. Disrupt. Elevate: Making Room for Women Everywhere.”

The conference brought together over 400 attendees to hear from influential women leaders across various industries. Through panel discussions and interactive workshops, participants explored approaches to leadership, professional development and creating opportunities for women's advancement in business.

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Tandra C. Perkins began the conference with an inspiring keynote.
Tandra C. Perkins began the conference with an inspiring keynote.

The day kicked off with opening remarks from conference president Adrienne Miller ’24 and Barbara Ostdiek, senior associate dean of degree programs. Keynote speaker Tandra C. Perkins, SVP and chief digital and administrative officer at Phillips 66, then took the stage to deliver an inspiring talk about embracing the chance to leave your comfort zone.

Morning panel sessions covered topics like pursuing entrepreneurial ventures as a woman founder, finding work-life balance and the impacts of Texas legislation on women. Panelists represented organizations like Chevron, EY-Parthenon and more.

Afternoon interactive workshops allowed attendees to gain hands-on experience with negotiation tactics, executive presence, coaching skills and attracting diverse talent. Rice Business professors and directors led several sessions.

To close out the event, Kelly Rooney, senior vice president of Waste Management, delivered an empowering keynote speech on the multi-generational workforce and the dynamics, challenges and opportunities that come with working across generations.

Participants left feeling invigorated and equipped with new skills to challenge norms, disrupt the status quo and elevate women in their workplaces. The WILC organizing committee is proud to have hosted such an inspirational and educational event for women leaders.

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